STM Gibraltar Australian ROPS roll-out response 'exceeds expectations'

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The initial response from IFAs to STM Group’s STM Gibraltar (AUS) Superannuation Scheme launch “has exceeded expectations”, the company has said.

The scheme, launched in October last year as an Australian Tax Office-recognised superannuation, is available to clients worldwide, and is similar to a standard QROPS, but with a promise from STM of  “complete certainty of tax treatment” for those individuals resident, or likely to become so, in Australia.

Stuart Denness, managing director of STM Australia PTY Ltd, said in a statement issued by the company that there was still “understandably” a sense of caution among some IFAs with respect to Australian pension transfers, as it has only been two years since HMRC removed all the Australian schemes that were on its official online ROPS list.

But in general, he said, the feedback from IFAs has been “very positive”.

“The fact that our product development team has worked closely with Australian legal and tax specialists to develop a robust retail solution has been warmly welcomed, and the positive response from IFAs has exceeded even our expectations,” he said.

In his statement, Denness didn’t give specific numbers of pensions transferred into the STM scheme, or the total value of all the transfers that have been made  into the scheme thus far.

Simon Harding, a director of Harding Wealth Management and Certified Financial Planner in both Australia and the UK, has backed STM’s launch and is described as calling STM’s provision of a ROPS option as “refreshing”.

“Being an expat myself based full-time in Australia, advising fellow Brits is a key part of my business,” Harding said, in a statement accompanying STM’s sales update.

“Since HMRC removed QROPS status for most Australian based Super funds in April 2015, and the post-age 55 SMSF QROPS availability later in the year, it has been very difficult to provide appropriate advice to my Australian resident clients with any UK pension fund, who are under 55 years of age.”